I finally watched Joe Njagu’s The Gentleman last night which stars Munya Chidzonga and Presley Chweneyegae of Tsotsi fame.
I think that this was a significant jump from the Lobola and it is a very good universal story. It is something that a lot of people can relate to and there is a commendable effort made in its execution.
We also like the fact that there were a lot of typically Zimbabwean things in the film. There is a scene when a one of the characters walks into a hospital and needs to get attention but the receptionist is busy on a private call on the phone.
The picture is done at a very good quality level. The sound sometimes is a bit dodgy. It feels as if it is being switched on an off but at least it is audible.
As good as the story was though, you just had the feeling that it ended just as it got interesting. I think that they could have gotten to the pivotal parts, where the characters are forced to make a decision and then drawn out the emotions, dramatising it more.
Also some of the important details were not clarified enough. Some of the characters were very strong and compelling but you just had the feeling that either the director did not fully bring the gimmicks out or the actor simply failed to understand the situation they were portraying. With some of the acting, the performances were not up to scratch and it felt as if they were just going through their lines.
All in all, these are things that can be improved on. I have every confidence that they can be improved given the jump from Lobola to The Gentleman. The weaknesses in themselves do not make the movie less interesting.
As an effort, this is something that the producers and everyone else involved in the film can be proud of.